Citing a lack of private equity investment in the Nordic retail sector, newly-established Swedish private equity firm Retail Private Equity (RPE) has announced that it has launched its debut fund to take advantage of opportunities in the sector.
The firm is planning to raise E80m to invest in mid-sized Nordic retail companies. “Sweden has a tradition in creating strong and internationally successful retail companies,” said Christel Kinning, co-founder of RPE and CEO of Polarn & Pyret, a Swedish clothing retailer. IKEA and H&M are prime examples of strong chain-store concepts and brands which have generated very substantial values.”
Kinning believes the opportunity lies in the relative underinvestment in the Swedish and broader Nordic market. “Retailing accounts for one tenth of Sweden’s total economy, but only attracts 0.6 per cent of all private equity investments. This is something that we intend to change.”
The first fund, RPE Nordic Fund 1 KB, is currently being marketed to investors and will target larger and mid-sized growth-oriented retail companies in the Nordic region. “The driving force is to look for opportunities to develop strong store concepts and brands supported by traditional financial analysis and evaluation. We expect to be actively involved with 10-12 companies in the Nordic countries,” says Olle Nordberg, founding partner and CEO of RPE.
RPE is headed by Nils Tunebjer, founder and chairman of Audumbla Communications Group and former CEO of Garberg’s advertising agency as chairman; Olle Nordberg, former CFO of Audumbla and syndication manager at Swedbank; and Carl Bolinder, M&A manager and formerly an international investment banker with Dillon Read Enskilda in New York, UBS in London, NMR and PwC in Stockholm. The firm is also planning to add a further two experienced investment managers.